Republican senator suggests Pruitt's number 2 lead EPA

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe said Wednesday he was nearing his limit with Environmental Protection Agency Ad...

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 4:33 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 4:33 PM

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe said Wednesday he was nearing his limit with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and that an agreeable alternative would be to replace Pruitt with his deputy.

"One of the alternatives would be for him to leave that job," Inhofe said. "I would say this, that there's a guy behind him in (EPA Deputy Administrator) Andrew Wheeler who is really qualified too, so that might be a good swap."

Inhofe, in the interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, expressed regret about his disappointment with Pruitt, whom he called a "good friend." Both Inhofe and Pruitt are Oklahoma Republicans who were sharp critics of Obama-era environmental regulations.

Citing their shared background and beliefs, Inhofe said he was surprised by the near-constant churn of bruising stories about Pruitt's ethics and personal conduct in office.

"All these things that are coming out are really not good things," Inhofe said, adding later, "So I've kind of taken the position, if that doesn't stop, I'm going to be forced to be in a position where I'm gonna say, well, Scott, you're not doing your job."

Inhofe made clear to reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday that he was "absolutely not" calling for Pruitt to resign. But Inhofe said he would like to talk to Pruitt about the "piling on" of ethics allegations so he can assess what is true and what is not.

"I've said there are a lot of things that he has done -- I know him very well -- some are not characteristic of him at all," Inhofe said. "And I would like very much to have a communication with him about what is and what isn't."

Inhofe said he would support congressional hearings to examine Pruitt's conduct but that was up to Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, to call for them.

Inhofe used to chair the committee and now chairs one of its subcommittees.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said on Twitter that she supported Inhofe's call for a review of Pruitt by Congress and suggested President Donald Trump review Pruitt's conduct as well.

"I support Sen. @JimInhofe's call for a hearing on EPA Administrator Pruitt's scandals; and I continue to urge the President to take a hard look at Mr. Pruitt's actions -- as I do not feel that Mr. Pruitt is serving @RealDonaldTrump's best interests.

In the interview, Ingraham said she was already at her breaking point with Pruitt and argued his "bad judgment" was hurting Trump and conflicting with the President's "drain the swamp" message. Inhofe, in turn, said, "It hurts me to say this, but I agree 100% with you."

The National Review, a conservative outlet broadly in support of Pruitt's policies, echoed some of that sentiment in a piece published Wednesday calling for his exit.

"Pruitt is replaceable," the piece read. "And he should be replaced."

For months, Pruitt has faced questions about his use of official resources for personal reasons as well as ethical questions about his connections to lobbyists and others involved in industries he is tasked with regulating. At the same time, Pruitt has worked to roll back pillars of the Obama administration's legacy on the environment and earned plaudits from conservative corners.

Trump has continued to vouch for Pruitt and said last week that Pruitt "is doing a great job within the walls of the EPA."

Wheeler, whom Inhofe floated as a potential replacement for Pruitt, was confirmed to his position in April and previously worked in Inhofe's office and as a lobbyist.

Ahead of the confirmation vote in April, Inhofe came to Wheeler's defense and vouched for both his character and anti-regulation bona fides.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 250869

Reported Deaths: 5481
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17010171
Hinds16091318
Harrison13250193
Rankin10629208
Jackson10216182
Lee8759141
Madison8186161
Jones6222109
Forrest5917118
Lauderdale5808180
Lowndes5309111
Lafayette491192
Lamar480465
Washington4770123
Bolivar3955106
Oktibbeha390380
Panola365076
Pontotoc361152
Monroe3521104
Warren344597
Union341458
Marshall339165
Neshoba3357152
Pearl River323295
Leflore2992105
Lincoln295685
Sunflower280469
Tate269560
Alcorn262653
Itawamba261159
Hancock260458
Pike259977
Scott244745
Prentiss244052
Yazoo242654
Tippah239749
Copiah239149
Simpson233967
Leake229564
Coahoma228554
Grenada217070
Covington210471
Marion208371
Adams203270
Winston199464
Wayne198730
George197938
Attala193158
Newton189142
Chickasaw182944
Tishomingo182159
Holmes168167
Jasper167735
Clay158233
Stone141520
Tallahatchie139234
Clarke137460
Calhoun135121
Smith119423
Yalobusha116134
Walthall111736
Noxubee110222
Greene109129
Montgomery109134
Carroll104121
Lawrence102117
Perry100531
Amite96825
Webster91924
Tunica86021
Claiborne85525
Jefferson Davis84025
Humphreys82624
Benton81023
Kemper76620
Quitman6838
Franklin65815
Choctaw60013
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53419
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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